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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Zambia gets first mini-grid power system

The Zambian village of Chitandika is hosting the country’s flagship mini-grid power facility, courtesy of ENGIE.

Mini-grid power facility
A mini-grid power system

Tagged PowerCorner, the mini-grid provides energy to households and local businesses and supports public services such as the Rural Health Centre and two schools.

It was inaugurated by ENGIE on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 in presence of Matthew Nkhuwa, the Zambian Minister of Energy, ENGIE’s leadership team as well as local stakeholders.

Chitandika, located in the East of Zambia, counts 378 households (1,500 inhabitants) who previously were deprived access to electricity.

PowerCorner, it was gathered, will foster economic development by enabling other electrical productive uses (such as water pumping for agriculture use or carpentry and welding machines) and by triggering business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the village. 

ENGIE is said to have developed its approach to mini-grids for the electrification of villages in Tanzania in addition to Zambia with a total of 13 mini-grids in operation and construction. The firm is pursuing a goal to develop 2,000 mini-grids by 2025in Africa, thereby enabling 2.5 million people, entrepreneurs, SMEs and local businesses to access renewable, reliable and cost-effective energy.

As part of its decentralised energy developments, ENGIE is also expanding Fenix, its solar home system business. Since the launch of its operations in Zambia in October 2017, ENGIE Fenix is said to have reached 70,000 customers in the country, supplying 350,000 people with clean lighting and power. To date, Fenix has sold over 400,000 solar home systems across Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria,  the Ivory Coast and Benin, reportedly changing the lives of over two million people.

Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE, said: “At ENGIE, we believe that universal access to electricity is possible in the foreseeable future thanks to a smart combination of national grid extensions, mini-grids and solar home systems, depending on the local characteristics of energy demand.

“ENGIE is already present along the whole spectrum of solutions with its subsidiaries PowerCorner and Fenix for off-grid solutions, and utility-scale grid connected generation such as Kathu, our 100 MW concentrated solar power plant in South Africa. Within a constantly changing world, it is ENGIE’s role to make a cost-efficient zero-carbon transition possible for the benefit of the African population.” 

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